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Our Story

An inspiration and an idea: the Shinta Mani model in an overlooked frontier.
A passion for adventure wrapped in culture and community.
These are the makings of something extraordinary.


Sherpa Family

After years as a trekking guide and mountaineer, Lhakpa Sonam Sherpa opened Thamserku Trekking in 1988 to meet the growing demand for his services. Within three years, he’d enlisted the help of his brother, Ang Tshering. The family business grew, eventually expanding into aviation and hospitality. For over 30 years Sherpa Hospitality (as it is now called), has been at the forefront of the tourism and mountaineering industry in Nepal. Today the group has a host of ventures including luxury properties such as Kasara in Chitwan and Mountain Lodges of Nepal in the Annapurna and Everest trekking regions. The businesses are still a family affair, run by Sonam and his son Namgyal Sherpa.


Lhakpa Sonam Sherpa

Throughout the years of building the family’s hospitality empire, Sonam Sherpa maintained his passion for mountaineering. In May 2023, thirty years after his wife, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, made history as the first Nepali woman to summit Everest, Lhakpa Sonam Sherpa successfully summited Everest to become the first Nepali to reach all seven summits across the seven world continents. In his early 60s, this is no small feat. Sonam is using the prestige of his achievement as a platform to highlight the need for new measures to be introduced around climbing in Everest in order to conserve the region.


Namgyal Sherpa

Namgyal Sherpa is CEO of Sherpa Hospitality and Managing Director of Thamserku Trekking. Born into a life immersed in the mountaineering world, Sonam’s son, Namgyal Sherpa had two parents with climbing in their souls. Namgyal’s mother, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, was an avid climber making history as the first Nepali woman to summit Everest. Her spirit embodied the definition of trailblazer, defying culture norms while setting world records. She sadly lost her life on the descent but her memory is cherished across Nepal for redefining what women can do. Namgyal is vice president of the Pasang Lhamu Foundation, an organization in honor of his mother that provides opportunity and empowerment for women from remote and mountainous regions through outreach and training. The foundation gives Namgyal the platform to bring his passion for community outreach and conservation to deprived areas of Nepal. Now with the support of Shinta Mani Mustang – A BENSLEY Collection, this philanthropic endeavour will be extended specifically to projects in Mustang.

Raised in a family with a thriving nationwide business, Namgyal’s seen the inside of the industry his whole life. As CEO, he oversees many arms of Sherpa Hospitality’s businesses. This includes the development of Mountain Lodges of Nepal and fine dining establishments such as Le Sherpa, one of the most respected fine dining restaurants in Kathmandu, and also the venue for the popular weekly farmer’s market. He’s also the owner of the stylish boutique hotel, Nomad with the gourmet Italian Piano Piano attached in the trendy Lazimpat neighbourhood of Kathmandu. With Namgyal at the helm, this new collaboration with Shinta Mani is yet another string to Sherpa Hospitality’s well-established bow.


Bill Bensley

Bill Bensley began his design career in landscape architecture making a name for himself across Asia with Bensley, his design studios in Bali and Bangkok. Bill’s creative journey expanded into architecture and interior design and over the last two decades, Bensley has received multiple awards for their ground-breaking concepts. With sustainability at the core of everything he does, Bensley has pioneered sustainable hotel design setting a new precedent in the luxury hospitality industry. A notable example is Shinta Mani Wild, which offers guests the most extraordinary adventure experiences in the lap of luxury while supporting conservation and the local community.


Jason M. Friedman

A sense of adventure, a love of travel and an appreciation for the finer things in life have inspired Jason Friedman to create the new standard in luxury travel. Bringing the New Yorker spirit to the heart of Asia, over the last three decades Jason has carved out an opulent niche for developing high-end ventures throughout Asia and across the globe. J. M. Friedman & Co, is a luxury resort consultancy with an impressive string of clients to their name from the Aman group to Four Seasons and InterContinental. And of course, his projects in Cambodia with Bill Bensley, Shinta Mani Wild and Shinta Mani Angkor, are a fine example of the magical partnership between Bill and Jason. In recent years, his collaboration with Namgyal and Mountain Lodges of Nepal, forged the connection with Sherpa Hospitality. Shinta Mani Mustang – A BENSLEY Collection, brings Jason back to Nepal to again work his magic with Sherpa Hospitality and Namgyal on this exciting new project. Nepal, and Mustang in particular, have always held a special place in Jason’s heart and the relatively unknown terrain of Lower Mustang is the hidden gem he’s excited to share with the world.

General Manager

Pradyot Rana

A proud Nepali native, Pradyot holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business from the Management Development Institute in Singapore. After graduating in 2007, he spent 5 years in the finance industry before beginning a career in hospitality as a Senior Naturalist and Camp Manager for Pugdundee Safari M.P., one of India’s leading safari companies.

From there Pradyot spent two years as Senior Naturalist at the Samode Safari Lodge, Relais & Chateaux, in Bandhavgarth M.P. India before becoming Resident Manager of Jagatpur Lodge by the Ananapurna Group of Hotels. His most recent role prior to joining Shinta Mani Mustang was as Project and Business Development Manager at Tiger Tops Nepal who have been pioneering sustainable high-end tourism in Nepal since the early sixties.


Prabal Thapa

Prabal Thapa is a renowned Nepali architect with a strong commitment to sustainable design. His firm, Prabal Thapa Architects, established over 20 years ago, has pioneered energy efficient architecture in Nepal utilising passive solar design and waste management as integral facets of their structures. They have renovated historic buildings and designed many institutional buildings throughout Nepal. Prabal Thapa studied for his Masters in Architecture in Vienna, Austria.


Robert Powell

Originally from Australia, Robert Powell discovered South Asia while at University studying architecture. On a trip to Ladakh, he lost his camera and was forced to document the buildings and terrain with drawings by hand. This was the beginning of a life’s work of ethnographic documentation in the form of exquisite art. With a firmly established connection to the Himalayas, Powell found a base in Kathmandu for over three decades working as an architect across Europe and continuing his artwork as well. His place in the global art world was assured with the 1999 exhibition, ‘Earth Door, Sky Door, Paintings of Mustang’ at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.. We are extremely honoured to be presenting many of these magnificent pieces in a limited edition collection.


Dart and Christopher

The story of Altai-Himalaya is a love story and an appreciation of quality and art. Husband and wife team, Christopher and Enkhe, started the company in 1996. Evolving from a two loom workshop in their garage, into a multi-million dollar company, Altai- Himalaya processes and dyes all their yarns by hand in their weaving mill in Kathmandu. Their gorgeous, painstakingly hand-crafted wares are then exported to high end fashion houses in Europe (such as Hermès). Nearly 30 years on, their son D’Artagnan has taken over the family business that gives fair employment to hundreds while preserving traditional artisan Nepali craftsmanship.


Amchi Tsewang Gyurme Gurung

Tsewang Gyurme Gurung is from a long line of Amchis serving Jomsom and the surrounding regions in Mustang. He’s the 11th recorded Amchi in his lineage of SoRig practitioners. Since childhood he witnessed medicinal and healing practices carried out by his father and grandfather who passed on the knowledge and skills that have defined his heritage for centuries. He went on to further study in Kathmandu and attended Chabpori Tibetan Medical College in Darjeeling, India. Now working out of his clinic in Jomsom, we are privileged to have the opportunity for his counsel at Shinta Mani Mustang – A BENSLEY Collection. Amchi will have a small, satellite clinic at the hotel to offer each of our guests a personal health and wellness evaluation. For more details, see our Wellness page.

Thakali Chef and Civic Leader

Kamala Didi

Born and raised in Mustang, Kamala Lalchan has deep roots in her community and is deeply committed to promoting local culture and traditions through her culinary skills. She is a distinguished figure in the culinary world, renowned for her expertise in Thakali cuisine and her contributions as a civic leader and women entrepreneur in Mustang, Nepal. She is widely celebrated for her culinary skills, particularly as the owner of Marpha Apple Bakery, a renowned establishment famous for its delectable baked goods, organic coffee, and authentic Thakali dishes.

In addition to her culinary ventures, Kamala Lalchan is also involved in the production of apple and apricot juice, running a factory that produces these refreshing beverages. Her commitment to utilizing local produce and promoting sustainable agriculture underscores her dedication to both her community and the environment.

Furthermore, Kamala Lalchan serves as the chairperson of the Bjongmore Small Farmer Agriculture Co-operative in Marpha, Gharapjhong Rural Municipality, Mustang. In this role, she plays a pivotal role in supporting local farmers and fostering agricultural development in the region.


Dhwoj Gurung

Dhwoj Gurung is a well-renowned artist based in Nepal. His exceptional artworks are displayed at Shinta Mani Mustang – A BENSLEY Collection’s Living Room and Nilgiri Restaurant. He works mainly with acrylics and oils. He earned his Master of Fine Arts degree at Tribhuwan University, Central Department of Fine Art in Kirtipur, Nepal. He has showcased his plein air paintings in solo exhibitions at the Ramsey Gallery, University of North Carolina, USA, and at Park Gallery in Kathmandu, a prominent contemporary art venue in Nepal.

He has also been a part of numerous group exhibitions and was invited to participate in Bhutan’s inaugural International Festival in 2015. In 2013, he was honored with the RN Joshi Prize for his outstanding contributions during the Return To Nature Program (Plein Air Festival) organized by Park Gallery. His artistic endeavors have been featured twice in Outdoor Painter magazine, as well as in various significant publications in Nepal. Gurung’s paintings find homes in numerous private collections both in Nepal and abroad. He leads a modest life, focusing wholeheartedly on his craft.

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